Black women aren’t often given the opportunity to tell our love stories publicly. Instead, our courtships, regrets, and lustful encounters are whispered about amongst our girlfriends. Epic love stories — the ones that we see in movie theaters or on TV screens are typically reserved for white women, while advice from male “relationship experts,” and unfounded statistics are strewn across social media platforms and news sites telling Black women all the reasons we can’t find love. With her new romance series, Love Is__ writer/showrunner Mara Brock Akil is reclaiming the romance genre for Black women by sharing her own very intimate story – a tale of how she and her husband, writer/director Salim Akil fell deeply in love.
Love Is__ follows Nuri (portrayed by Michele Weaver) a rising writer in ’90s Black Hollywood whose settling into her career in LA, making a name or herself, and furnishing her newly purchased home. Her life collides with Yasir (portrayed by Will Catlett), an aspiring writer-director without two nickels to rub together. Told from the perspective of the couple 20 years in the future, with music from everyone from Brownstone to Lauryn Hill contributing to the soundtrack, Akil invites you into this exhilarating time in her life, one that was full of romance, heartache, and so much magic. At the Love Is__ premiere in Los Angeles, I chatted with Akil, OWN CEO Oprah Winfrey and Weaver about the series, the power of Black love, and what can grasp from heartache.
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